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Treasure or trifle? Renowned appraiser to estimate value of art, jewelry, other items

Wes Cowan is in the business of knowing.

The appraiser has been featured on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow,” as well as “History Detectives.”

And he will be in Santa Fe to help celebrate the 110th anniversary of the School for Advanced Research.

Throughout its history, SAR has been a careful steward of a Native American arts collection of nearly 12,000 pieces, which includes pottery and other clay art pieces, baskets, weavings, paintings, and jewelry.

On Saturday, participants at this event can have their own treasures evaluated by Cowan and his team from Cincinnati.

Flannery Davis, SAR spokeswoman, says participants can bring pieces – including American Indian art, fine and decorative art, autographs and manuscripts, books, maps, and other historical items, as well as fine jewelry and timepieces.

She says no stamps, firearms, coins, or large pieces of furniture will be allowed.

The event is part of the school’s anniversary celebration.

In 110 years, SAR has gone by several names, starting with the School of American Archaeology. In 1917, the School of American Archaeology changed its name to the School of American Research to reflect the broader scope of its mission.

In 2007, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary, the name changed to the School for Advanced Research to encompass the global reach of its support for scholarship in the social sciences and humanities.

“Today SAR provides a platform for wide-ranging scholarly research and lectures on prehistory, contemporary social issues like immigration, and the creativity of Native American artists. Although our roots are in northern New Mexico and include some of the most significant archaeological digs in the Southwest in the 20th century, like Bandelier, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, among others, today’s resident scholars and seminar participants pursue important questions on every inhabited continent,” SAR President Michael J. Brown says. “Since we began offering fellowships in 1972, we have funded the work of more than 350 SAR scholars and artists from around the globe, among whose ranks are six MacArthur Fellows and 18 Guggenheim Fellows.”